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Power Button - Episode 266: E3 2018 Wrap-Up

Power ButtonAs we do each E3 we have brought in our special E3 correspondent Ross Polly live from the loading dock of the Los Angeles Convention Center for an exclusive discussion about the happenings and events of the week that was in big gaming news and press conferences.  Join us for a super-sized two hour episode of the Power Button podcast in which we run down the highs and lows of the Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Square-Enix, Sony, and Nintendo press conferences and digital showcases for conversation about games such as Anthem, Halo Infinite, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Fallout 76, Just Cause 4, The Last of Us Part II, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate plus so much more.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


The Running Of The Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. BrawlSometimes on certain windy nights, if you listen hard enough and believe fervently enough, you can still hear the sounds of E3 2006 reverberating through the streets of downtown Los Angeles.  One of the last great E3s of days gone by before the expo contracted into the airplane hanger years for a while, 2006 gave rise to Nintendo's big Wii debut and Sony's lackluster PlayStation 3 introduction.  Nadia Oxford of USgamer was there, and her story about seeing the first Super Smash Bros. Brawl trailer reminded me of one of my own favorite E3 2006 stories.

Meanwhile in Nintendo territory, we saw the reveal for Super Mario Galaxy (charming and highly unique at the time of its reveal, and still one of the greatest 3D Mario games of all time), a playable version of Metroid Prime 3, and the incredibly crowd-pleasing trailer for Super Smash Bros Brawl. I still smile a bit at that Snake reveal at the very end: It set a standard for the surprise Smash character reveals that have evolved into tiny, potent packages of fan-crack. The Mega Man reveal for Smash Bros on the Wii U and 3DS at E3 2013 set a fire under a property that was nothing but cooling ashes at that point, and I don't think I'll ever be over the Cloud reveal.

I was also at that fateful E3 as part of the Advanced Media Network team, the crew that would later go on to become the now-defunct Kombo.  AMN had drastically scaled back its 2006 presence at the expo from around fifty representatives in 2005 to a more manageable and hard-working twelve people.  Nintendo was still holding live stage show press conferences back then, but the company also always saved a little something to show off later in the week.  Super Mario Galaxy stole the press conference and the show floor, but it was the first look at Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii behind closed doors later in the day that really turned heads.

Allow me to remind you of the technology scene of the era.  No YouTube.  No Twitter.  No Facebook.  No iPhone or Android.  Certainly no Twitch.  WiFi was a rare and expensive commodity in public settings when it worked at all.  Large files were still distributed by discs instead of cloud services or streaming video sites.  I was still carrying around a digital camera strapped into a belt holster at the show that year and my primitive cell phone only made calls.  AMN had sent two of our team to the closed door showcase and we all had to wait patiently to find out what was being announced in Nintendo's room.  Finally, the boss got the call: Nintendo had shown off the new Smash title and had given out discs with the trailer on them.  Whichever site could get that video online first and start the link spreading around the Internet through Digg and the like would win all of the gaming community traffic.  Our guys had a disc in their possession, but no way to get it on the Internet from the convention center.  So began the great Smash Bros. run of 2006.

Continue reading "The Running Of The Smash Bros." »


Power Button - Episode 265: E3 2018 Predictions: The New Batch

Power ButtonE3 2018 is a week away and we're gearing up to enjoy all of the new announcements and reveals.  This week on Power Button we're looking ahead to what we think the publishers and developers at the big show may announce and throw in a little bit of personal wishlisting while we're at it.  Join us for an hour of discussion.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


You Are Kirby's Hero

Kirby Star Allies

It's amazing how much a simple message can be such a great help.  I've had an especially rough time lately with my health and longtime readers will remember my decades-long fight with Crohn's Disease and its accompanying issues.  Earlier this year my pancreas joined the party with its own problems, and now for the past few weeks I've been pushing myself through extra pain and difficulties with digesting enough nutrition.  Just making it through a regular day or work and daily responsibilities is a physically overwhelming prospect sometimes.  I've spent a lot of time resting in bed, usually with my Nintendo Switch within reach.  Kirby Star Allies has taken up my Switch time over the past few months off and on, and I found a surprising boost in an unexpected place.

Kirby has access to so many power and abilities over the course of the game that it's easy to forget how to control him sometimes, so the game's pause screen includes a recap of what Kirby can do in his current state: fire, ice, electric, ninja, etc.  Whenever Kirby is just plain ol' Kirby, however, there's not much to say about him, so instead the developers included a short message about how Kirby believes in the player no matter how tough things are.  I was surprised by how much a little encouragement from a fictional character helped boost my spirits when I was up in the middle of the night with pain and unable to sleep.  If Kirby believes in me, how can I lose?


Power Button - Episode 264: Sealing The Pact With Batman: The Enemy Within

Power ButtonWe're fans of both Batman and Telltale Games here on Power Button, so it's natural that when the publisher debuted the second season of its Dark Knight adventures, we had to discuss it.  We have a supersized conversation about Batman: The Enemy Within for you this week and it's packed with spoilers, so settle in with your favorite dark corner and enjoy.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Power Button - Episode 263: Mega Man 101

Power ButtonBack in Episode 255 we discovered that Blake Grundman doesn't know the ins and outs of the canonical Mega Man storyline and how the classic series ties into the Mega Man X series and beyond.  Obviously, this could not stand, so we invited David Oxford of The Mega Man Network and author of The Robot Master Field Guide to join us and lead Blake step by step through the series and explain the plot points that tie the whole thing together.  How is Dr. Wily related to Zero?  What happened to Dr. Cossack?  Who is the mysterious Mr. X?  All will be revealed in this week's episode.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Power Button - Episode 261: Catching Up

Power ButtonAfter two months of illness and injuries, Power Button is back on track!  This week Blake Grundman and I spend an hour catching up on some of the noteworthy gaming events that we missed during our time away including our new iPhones, dipping to Batman: The Enemy Within, exploring Kirby Star Allies, and much more.  Join us as we gear up the podcasting machine after hiatus.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Universal Orlando Planning Nintendo Attractions For 2023

Mario Kart

There's more news stirring around the Nintendo/Universal partnership that would bring several Nintendo-themed attractions to the Universal Orlando Resort.  WFTV out of Orlando reports that plans for new Nintendo-themed rides are supposedly planned for multiple properties at the Orlando, FL park with rides planned for Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, and Pokémon spreading between the existing flagship Universal Studios park and an upcoming new fourth park much like the company split Harry Potter attractions between the Studios and Islands of Adventure.  The downside is that the Orlando attractions aren't slated to open until 2023.

Along with Josh Young, a blogger with Theme Park University, Holmes spoke to numerous sources inside Universal who say Pokémon is indeed coming to Universal Orlando. The incredibly popular video game and franchise will be added to the KidZone section of Universal, where Woody Woodpecker and Barney are located now.

Originally, that area was slated to be home to Mario Kart and a Donkey Kong roller coaster, but now we've learned those rides will be moving across the street to the 400 acres Universal recently bought near Kirkman Avenue.

The KidZone area of Universal has to be aging poorly by now since it's headlined by characters that are unfamiliar to today's children.  I can understand replacing it with Pikachu and friends, particularly if the new area encourages trading Pokémon in games.  As for the new unbuilt park across the street, Floridians have heard many different plans for that plot of land over the past few years and while I'll believe it when I see it, building Nintendo attractions there makes a lot of sense and would allow Universal to spread out more than trying to shoehorn, say, Princess Peach's castle into an existing park.  And just think: by 2023 we'll all be enjoying the Super Nintendo Switch or Switch U or whatever the company's next console is called.


Third Time's The Charm For Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule WarriorsVideo game fans talk a lot about remasters and definitive editions these days, but for every Burnout Paradise and Spyro Reignited Trilogy, there are other games that have been updated and expanded several times quietly under the radar.  One of those games, Hyrule Warriors, started out as an enjoyable "Dynasty Warriors but Zelda" adventure for the Nintendo Wii U before being ported to the New Nintendo 3DS with additional content in an attempt to get the game in front of an audience sizable enough to check it out.  Now the game is coming back around for a third time as an even larger Nintendo Switch edition.  With two earlier versions under its belt, how much larger is the new iteration?  If you played the Wii U version but skipped the 3DS update, how much new content can you expect?  And if you devoured the 3DS version, is the Switch version worth your time?  Thankfully, Reddit's Thopterthallid has done the homework for you and has written a guide to explain how the new content impacts players of both previous versions.  Here's a taste:

How much more content are you getting overall?

For the 3DS version: Some, but not a ton. Especially if you already bought all the HW:L DLC. The main selling point here is going to be the multiplayer, and better performance. There are a couple small modes you missed out on, but more on that shortly.

For the Wii U version: A lot. It nearly doubles the size of the story mode, and offers a lot of DLC characters and adventure maps you might have missed out on.

It's quite an exhaustive guide covering new characters, weapons, modes, maps, items, and much more.  If you're not sure if you ought to double or triple dip on the new Switch version of Hyrule Warriors, this would be the way to line up all the content and see if you're interested.  As for me, I loved the original Wii U release and found it to be absolutely crammed full of content.  I rented the 3DS version and felt overwhelmed with all of the additional material to unlock and play, so if that version felt like too much, I can't imagine I'd be able to put the time or energy into playing through even more game on the Switch.  It's just too daunting a task at this point in my life.  If you've never played it in a prior incarnation though, it's definitely worth a look.


Power Button - Episode 260: Failure To Relaunch (Part 2)

Power ButtonWe are finally back in the podcasting saddle after two months off due to illness and injury.  More on that in a later episode though because this installment is one of our recordings from the can in which we take up the second half of our discussion about failed video game reboots and relaunches.  Catch up on the first half in Episode 256 and then join us for an hour of kicking around failed titles such as Bomberman: Act Zero, Conker: Live and Reloaded, Splatterhouse, Turok, a fun story about Sonic the Hedgehog at E3, and much more. Also, Blake received something special in the mail recently.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.